From California to Australia, via Greece, massive wildfires have interrupted our summers in recent years. In France, the risk is lower but remains very present, especially in the south-eastern region of France. With the rise in temperatures and the multiplication of heat waves and heat waves, the activity of the fires will increase in this area of the hexagon, but it is also likely to increase in the southern half as well as in the northern half, according to the INRAE. (National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment). So if you live on the edge of a wood or forest in the regions of Corsica, New-Aquitaine (except Corrèze, Creuse and Haute-Vienne)† Provence-Alpes Côte-d’Azur, Occitanie, as well as in Drôme and Ardèche, certain precautions must be taken and known to avoid any risk of fire spreading. Explanation with Anne Ganteaume, researcher at INRAE.
If your property is less than 200 meters from a wood or woodland, you are legally required to clear approximately “50 or 100 meters depending on the circumstances,” the specialist recalls. Be careful though, some of these rules may change. Inquire at your town hall so that you do not miss any obligations.
The National Forestry Office qualifies brush cleaning as follows:
Technically, this involves cutting down herbaceous vegetation, shrubs and shrubs, and generally setting trees apart so they don’t touch. The low branches at the bottom of the trunk of the other trees also need to be pruned. In each department, a prefectural decree determines the technical methods for cleaning up brush.
Failure to comply with the law exposes you to financial penalties:
- from the town hall on the basis of “a penalty of 100 euros maximum per day delay”,
- an administrative fine of up to 30 euros per m² not vacated of the municipality,
- or a criminal fine of up to 750 euros (1,500 for residential properties), specifies the government site.
If a neighbor’s property is destroyed by a fire that may have spread through undeveloped land, you could be sentenced to a fine of up to 1 year in prison and €15,000†
Break the hedges
Hedges are called “continuities of vegetation” and are combustible and therefore can spread a fire to houses. It is therefore important for those who live in a risk area to break your hedges. Although it is less aesthetically pleasing, it can save many plants as well as the surrounding homes.
As we can read on the site dedicated to forest fire prevention:
In general, the hedge should be planted on a distance of at least 3 m from the house and less than 10 m long (if not separating (not detached), and minimum 3 m from the house and less than 2 m high and wide if dividing (separating).
Keep trees away from buildings
Trees can be excellent relays for a fire. Therefore, care must be taken to keep them away from houses and facades. “We saw houses destroyed because huge trees hung over the roofs of the houses”explains Anne Ganteaume.
Don’t burn leaves in your garden
This is common sense, but it’s worth remembering “Faced with the many incipient fires caused by the work of individuals in their gardens”: you should not burn the leaves in your garden, especially not in the summer when it is windy, emphasizes the researcher.
Instead of throwing your leaves away, learn how to reuse them as natural fertilizer or as shelter for animals in this article.